There’s Plenty to Play For Says Bruce as Carvalhal Expects Tough Game

The Villa Appetiser: Aston Villa v Sheffield Wednesday 2017

Sheffield Wednesday have proven to be one of the league’s promotion hopefuls while Villa have had to delay our Premier League push for another year.

Tuesday’s night showed that Villa can compete with the league’s play-off chasers but they lacked the killer instinct yet again and were made to rue missed chances.

It doesn’t sound like a fixture that should be in the second tier. Will Saturday’s game offer hope that Villa won’t be in this league for (too) much longer?

Steve Bruce on next season 

“We know that next season we have to be there or thereabouts. I think everyone expects that.

“A lot of the lads have a lot to prove over the next 10 games and stake a claim that once pre-season comes that they are part of our squad that will take this club to mount a challenge.

“I think everyone is disappointed this season that we haven’t been able to. But it’s not that easy. Just because we’re Aston Villa doesn’t give us a divine right as we have seen many times.

“But it has got to be the aim and the challenge. There is still a lot to play for this season in my eyes because we have to finish in the top 10. We have to.

“We must finish the season strongly which will stand us in good stead for the beginning of next which will be huge for everybody.”

Carvalhal on the Villa

“It will be a difficult game.

“Even though they lost their last game they won (three in a row before).

“(They’re) a team that did a lot of investment in the beginning and in the transfer window of January they bring in more players, also to try and upgrade the team.

“All the time, playing in Villa Park is a big motivation to all of the teams, all the players, all the managers.

“We know all the time that Villa is a very tough team to play against, it’s a massive club that is not in a good position in this moment but we know the value is there…

“Understanding this, we expect a tough game, but we’ll be ready for the game. We’ll fight. We like this kind of game and we’ll be ready for the game on Saturday.

Memory Match

28th November 2001 Villa 0 Wednesday 1 (League Cup).

A goal from Efan Ekoku led to a League Cup victory for Wednesday the last time they visited Villa Park.

Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 1, L 2

Wednesday – Last five matches away: W 2, D 1, L 2

One to Watch

Jordan Rhodes – Once a transfer target of Villa, Rhodes scored twice in Wednesday’s 5-1 thrashing of Norwich last weekend.

wednesday have scored in 31 of their 36 league games this season

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

The last week saw Sheffield Wednesday pick up four points at home from Norwich and Burton respectively.

They put five past Norwich but could only manage a 1-1 draw with Burton, so it’s difficult to know which Wednesday team will show up. I sure hope it’s the latter.

In sixth place and keen to distance themselves from the other top 10 teams eyeing the play-offs, Wednesday are a threat.

They were the first team to inflict a defeat on Villa this season as the Championship began, and they’ve scored in 31 of their 36 league games this season – the highest in the division.

There have been under 2.5 goals scored in Villa’s last five games, so it’s difficult to know just how many goals will be scored at Villa Park this weekend.

It’s clear that Wednesday know how to find the net, quite the opposite of Villa’s efforts on Tuesday when we again endured a story of missed chances.

“playing in Villa Park is a big motivation to all of the teams” – carvalhal on villa

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

It’s a shame that injuries are getting in the way of stability, but on the positive side, this has led to chances for Keinan Davis and Corey Taylor.

Bruce has this week mentioned his desire to give more academy players a chance, and Villa Park debuts for Davis and Taylor could be on the horizon this weekend.

Andre Green’s recent displays really lifted the crowd and if the aforementioned players are to be involved, the positivity from the past two home games could continue.

Kodjia continues to be our main man this season, and he has scored 37% of Aston Villa’s league goals this season -13 out of 35.

Such reliance isn’t particularly uncommon in the Championship – Leeds’ Chris Wood has scored 44% of their goals – but we do need to look towards our other players for goals.

Judging by the Huddersfield performance with very close efforts from Hourihane and Lansbury, goals from midfield for instance, could be on their way.

Unlike some of the other teams we’ve faced of late, encounters against Sheffield Wednesday have been comparatively recent, and we have a good record when you look at the last few Premier League matches.

In the last five league meetings at Villa Park, we’ve won three, drawn once, and lost once.

Our record against the teams towards the top of the league has not been exemplary at home this season, but home games against Huddersfield, Newcastle, Fulham and Leeds have not produced a defeat.

That’s got to be worth something!

Hopefully, the Huddersfield game hasn’t knocked the team’s confidence too much. It’s up to the players now to keep the momentum from the previous three-game run going, continuing to prepare for a proper challenge next season.


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